Lily Jones (aka Lily Vanilli) carved out a solid, celebrity-packed fan base well before opening her own bakery. Her foray into sculptural, macabre cake creations (roadkill cake, gingerbread gravestones, marzipan beetles) gave sweet treats a contemporary, anti-cute makeover and set her far apart from the mainstream cupcake clan.
It’s a touch surprising, then, to find her first establishment, just off Columbia Road flower market, completely void of gore. The baker’s experimental creativity, however, remains on show.
On our visit, we ogled a towering pomegranate and coconut Victoria sandwich, glistening honeycomb and ganache tarts and individually turned out cherry bakewells. The bakewells – lined up like cherry-topped pork pies – had a unique pastry top concealing buttery, almond-sweet frangipane and a beautifully sharp fruit compote. The more familiar red velvet cupcakes were equally good, as was a heady, deliciously naughty absinthe and mint ice cream.
Space is tight (this is a bakery, after all) with not much indoor seating and a courtyard area packed with customers. Vintage styling and rustic touches (wooden boards on the counters and areas of bare brick) make this a cosy teatime destination – one you’d gladly make the effort to visit on Sunday, the sole opening day.
Originally dubbed the 'queen of cupcakes', Lily went on to open this shop with a wide range of modern patisserie and cakes and it has since been voted one of Britain's best bakeries by British Vogue. The cosy interior and outdoor seating make it a perfect Sunday destination, with families and dogs very welcome. There are lots of delicious edible gifts and we always have vegan and gluten free options available too.
We offer a fully bespoke cake and wedding cake service - see website for details.
|Venue name:||Lily Vanilli||Contact:|
6 The Courtyard
|Cross street:||Ezra Street|
|Opening hours:||Open 8.30am-4.30pm Sun|
|Transport:||Tube: Cambridge Heath rail|
|Price:||Tea and cake for two with service: around £12|
|Do you own this business?|
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Average User Rating
3.9 / 5
- 5 star:7
- 4 star:7
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:2
The cakes look absolutely stunning - but being someone of a more savoury disposition I opted for the classic cheese on toast. It was super tasty, but my big qualm is they wouldn't heat it up for us! I'm a little forgiving because they had a long line, and few staff, but still.. cold cheese and toast kind of looses the magic for me!
THE BEST! THE BEST! A SUNDAY ESSENTIAL! most delicious treats sweet and savoury. the root cake is the best thing to ever happen to a vegetable.
Absolutely delicious moist spelt carrot cake, cut generously for £3, you could really taste the quality of the ingredients and the care that had gone into baking it. Washed down with literally the best coffee I've had in London (just pipping Soho's Flat White to the post). My gf had the salted chocolate brownie which was melt in the mouth lovely (at least the corner I got to try!) The countertops were overflowing with unusual cafe treats we didn't get to try this time: mini bakewells, velvet cupcakes, delicious-looking sausage rolls, even Absinthe ice cream (!). There's a buzzy atmosphere as it's popular and different and a feeling of having found something happening. I didn't find the staff (including Lily Vanilli herself who was a gracious hostess with the mostess) unfriendly, just busy and serving people fast to keep the queues down.
Excellent quality and delicious cakes! A massive range to choose from. Fun & knowledgable staff. We had a perfect afternoon!
Not impressed by the cupcakes: very plain and not many varieties available. Staff could be nicer and more polite.
Unprofessional staff. Difficult to place an order from a voucher, treated us as second class customers.